Sunday, November 13, 2011

#85: A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

New York, Bantam Books 2011 Mass Market Paperback. 1009 pages

Good Lord, this book was long! It is one of those small paperbacks that weigh about 2 pounds. This installment of the series focuses on three characters:

1. Tyrion Lannister: the dwarf with the taste for women, food and saving his own skin.
2. Arya Stark: youngest daughter of Edd Stark, and a regular "tomboy" in the Medieval mode. You know, swords and roughhousing and general thievery.
3. Jon Snow: member of the Night Watch and bastard son of Edd Stark.

This book is filled with acts of rapine, food throwing, sex, sex involving food, magic (the darkest magic), burnt down castles and farms, ghosts, fuckers rising from the dead. It's got it all, and I could not stop reading. Martin seems to have two sources of stories and culture. One is 15th century England, one is 13th century Mongolia. As it is, I want more magic. This is not Gandalf's shining of a light to make evil run away or fireworks (cool as that is). It is not something that renders its users invincible or superhuman (with one possible exception). I like that. In this world, if you screw with the Old Gods, magic or anything supernatural, debts have to be paid. It is not something to simply cure your problems; the law of unintended consequences overhangs the use of magic in this text.

The action is fast and furious; the more I read this series, the more I notice that the main characters are decidedly female and young. Many of the characters are children thrust into terrible situations. That is becoming a real draw for me, as each of the characters reacts differently. Not all the knights are noble, not all the ladies are lady like, not all the villains are evil just because they are evil. All the characters have their own motivations, which is the sign of a fully fleshed out an developed world. I have already started the third novel.

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